Where you train is super important. Who
you train with and how you train are also
very important too and all of these variables
will affect the outcome you get from your
And whether you are a competitive lifter,
an athlete who trains to improve your
performance in your chosen sport or just
a guy who likes to train… I know that you
want to get STRONGER and more powerful.
If you want to achieve your goals as fast
as possible, you better be putting some effort
into where you train.
Your training environment will shape your
progress to some degree.
There are some gyms that you walk into and
you feel like you get stronger just being there!
The music is right, there’s chalk everywhere,
the people in their are training hard and the
equipment is just ‘right’.
The gym where I train is exactly like this. It’s
called Rall’s Gym, the car park looks likes a
bomb site and everything is falling to pieces.
BUT, it’s the best place to train within 100
miles of where I live. PERIOD.
Here’s a video of me training at Rall’s. It sure
as hell aint pretty, but I love training there
and that’s all that counts….
I’m sure Westside Barbell, Lexen Extreme, Big
Iron and some of the other successful gyms
in the US have that same feeling of rightness
that Rall’s has (for the strength athlete anyway. All
these gyms would probably scare ‘Joe public’ silly.
Not that we care about that, right?).
On the flip side, there are commercial gyms and
privately run small gyms that are set up for the
‘average’ person. Whatever the hell that means.
They are full of machines, mirrors and quite frankly
Chalk’s not allowed, you can’t swear and it can
be quite difficult to get into the right mental state
required for serious strength training in these kind
If you want to get strong, avoid these places
like the plague.
Now we get to the main point of this article….
What Do You Do If There’s Not A Decent Gym Near You?
This is a legitimate question and you may be reading
this and asking yourself it right now.
One solution is to build your own gym.
If you or one of your training partners have a GARAGE,
this can be done relatively easily. And the cost to do
it is not that high; especially when you factor in that
most of the stuff you buy will last forever.
It’s a one-off investment in your training future!
I will say this: before you go buying equipment,
work out exactly how much room you need for each
For example, it can be tempting to think that you
only need a space 7ft wide for a Bench press station,
because that’s how wide the bar is, right?
You need more like 13ft so that there’s 3 ft either
side of the bar to load/un-load and spot.
So be very careful when planning what you can
really fit in the space you have.
Here’s what you need, in order of priority:
Equipment For Your Own Garage Gym
Stuff to do before you buy any equipment:
- Check the floor is flat and if not get it made flat.
It’s a pain in the neck and dangerous to train heavy
Squats, Deadlifts etc on an uneven floor.
- Work out how your going to heat the place in
winter. This will depend on where you live, but
it’s most likely a consideration unless you live in
Here’s the list:
Absolutely Essential Equipment:
- Power Rack or Monolift
- Adjustable Bench
- Power Bar
- Weight Plates
With the above equipment you can Squat, Bench
and Deadlift. You can also perform Incline Benches
Deadlifts from different height pins etc.
Stuff That’s Pretty Important…
- Bands and Chains
- Different Bars (SSB, Cambered Bar, Swiss Bar)
- Cheap Bar (for pin pulls and presses because you don’t
want to bend your best bar)
- Pull Up/Dip Station
- Low Pulley/Lat-Pull Down Machine
- Glute Ham Raise
Ok, if you add the above stuff to your set up
your starting to develop a pretty awesome
Dream Set Up Stuff…
- Reverse Hyper
- 45 degree back extension
Note: you need a lot of space to drag/push the
sled and prowler.
Here’s the thing… you could probably get all
over the above for not much over $10,000 if
you get some stuff second hand. If there’s a few
of you who train together and are serious about
doing a garage set up that’s not a massive
The pay off for your investment is your perfect
set-up, available to you whenever you want.
With as much chalk and loud music as you want.
I’m lucky, I have a gym that’s 5 minutes from
my house that has everything I need to get
super strong and a strong team to train with.
However, you may not have the right training
environment and this could be holding your
progress back. If so, something like that which
I’ve described above could be a real winner
If you decide to create your own gym, send
me some pictures and let me know how you
ps… even if you do train at a good gym; a home/
garage set-up can be good for extra workouts,
assistance workouts and days when you can’t
get to the gym.
Just be sure to pick your equipment very wisely.